€2.47m judgment against FG minister

A junior minister and his wife have consented to judgment for €2.47m being entered against them at the Commercial Court over unpaid loans.

Danske Bank issued the loans to Small Business Minister John Perry and his wife Marie in Oct 2011, to be repaid by Nov 2012, to restructure existing loans and an overdraft account and provide €25,000 towards tax affairs. The loans were secured by first legal mortgages over property including Perry’s Hardware store and the Stone Park restaurant at Main St, Ballymote, Co Sligo.

The bank claimed, before issuing proceedings for judgment, it made “extensive endeavours” to reach an accommodation with the couple, including several letters and meetings, to try and find a solution to their indebtedness.

The Fine Gael TD’s future as a minister was thrown into question by the move.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is understood to have believed that the matter had already been dealt with. Party colleagues expressed concern that Mr Perry would now lack credibility in the role as small business minister.

Mr Kenny stood by Health Minister James Reilly when he was named in debtor’s record Stubbs Gazette after a business consortium he was involved in had debts of €1.9m, but Mr Perry’s role is seen as more sensitive as he also deals with banking related issues like lending to small firms.

The Taoiseach’s spokesperson would not be drawn on the issue of Mr Perry’s future as a minister, saying: “The matter is before the courts.”

The couple, of Carrownanty, Ballymote, Co Sligo “continually failed, neg-lected or refused to make payments, provide information, adhere to agreed timeframes or co-operate in any meaningful way” with the bank or its agents, it claimed in court yesterday.

Danske also alleged it complied at all material times with the code of conduct for business lending to small and medium enterprises.

Yesterday, counsel for Mr Perry and his wife Marie told Mr Justice Peter Kelly, while they contradicted some matters in the bank’s affidavits, they accepted they had no bona defence to judgment and were consenting to judgment for €2,474,346.

The judge entered judgment in that amount but granted the couple a stay to Sept 2 on execution and registration of that.

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